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Agriculture Reigns as Top Employer for African Youth: Mastercard Foundation and World Data Lab Launch Employment Clock

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Agriculture Reigns as Top Employer for African Youth: Mastercard Foundation and World Data Lab Launch Employment Clock

By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU

Kigali-Rwanda: On Thursday, March 21, 2024, the World Data Lab and Mastercard Foundation joined forces to launch the African Youth Employment Clock, a groundbreaking platform aimed at addressing Africa’s youth unemployment gap through data projections.

In his opening speech, Dr. Tade Akin Aina, Chief Impact and Research Officer at Mastercard Foundation, highlighted the importance of data in driving interventions and program design.

Dr. Aina emphasized the foundation’s commitment to enabling 30 million young people in Africa to find dignified work, with a focus on empowering women and marginalized groups.

He stressed the potential of Africa’s youth as current and future leaders, workers, innovators, and transformers, urging for investments in their talents to shape the continent’s future.

Rwanda Country Director of Mastercard Foundation, David Rurangwa together with Dr. Tade Akin Aina, Chief Impact and Research Officer at Mastercard Foundation

“The partnership between Mastercard Foundation and World Data Lab signifies a significant step forward in transforming labor market data accessibility for policymakers, program designers, and youth navigating their career pathways.” He said.

 Dr. Aina commended the seamless engagement with World Data Lab and expressed excitement for future collaborations in countries like Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Uganda, and more.

Speaking to the media shortly after the launch, Dr. Wolfgang Fengler, CEO of World Data Lab, highlighted the importance of data in addressing this issue, stating that “data is the sunlight” needed to understand the challenges at hand.”

 He emphasized the need for a deeper analysis of job opportunities in sectors such as construction, manufacturing, and digital, particularly in Rwanda where the youth population is set to grow significantly by 2030.

Dr. Wolfgang Fengler, CEO of World Data Lab

With a focus on gender disparities in employment, Fengler pointed out the need for interventions to support women transitioning from traditional sectors like agriculture to emerging industries.

He added that “The Africa Youth Employment Clock provides valuable insights and numbers to guide government and partners in their efforts to tackle youth unemployment effectively.”

Data versus Employment in Rwanda and beyond

From his point of view, Rwanda’s Deputy Director General of the National Statistics Institute, Ivan Murenzi, touched on the importance of addressing youth unemployment in Africa during the event.

Murenzi emphasized the significance of data in understanding the challenges faced by African youth, stating that in Rwanda alone, 65% of the population is 30 years+ and below.

He also pointed out that youth unemployment in Rwanda has been a major issue, with rates ranging between 20% to 26% in the last four years.

Murenzi expressed his appreciation for partnerships with organizations like the World Data Lab and Mastercard Foundation, who are working to make data more accessible and easier to understand for all stakeholders involved in addressing youth employment issues.

While providing key insights into the current state of youth employment in Rwanda and beyond, Mr. Samuel Nzaramba, Senior Data Scientist at World Data Lab highlighted that in Rwanda, the majority of employment is informal, with around 80-90% falling into this category.

He also pointed out that there is a close gender split in terms of employment, with women slightly outnumbering men. However, when it comes to specific sectors, such as agriculture, the gender split becomes more pronounced, with more females working in this field compared to others like health, services, and industry.

Looking at the broader African context, Nzaramba noted that agriculture remains a dominant sector for youth employment across the continent.

However, he emphasized the need for a structural transformation where jobs shift from agriculture to services and industry, as seen in East Asian countries.

“This shift is crucial for economic growth and creating high-skilled job opportunities.” He said.

Furthermore, Nzaramba discussed the correlation between education levels and employment sectors, highlighting that the less educated tend to work in agriculture while the more educated youth are more likely to be employed in services.

“This trend underscores the importance of investing in education to prepare youth for jobs in growing sectors like services and industry.” He explains.

Overall, Nzaramba’s data analysis revealed that agriculture is predominantly female-dominated, while industries and services tend to be more male-dominated.

As Africa looks towards increasing job opportunities in services and industry sectors, there is a challenge in ensuring gender balance in these fields, which are currently skewed towards male workers. The insights provided by Nzaramba shed light on the complexities of youth employment in Africa and the need for targeted interventions to address these challenges.

An estimated 245 million (or 48% of) young Africans are not employed, with this sum likely to increase to 297 million by 2030. Against this backdrop, enabling dignified and fulfilling jobs for Africa’s youth is more important today than ever before. A collective, renewed impetus, underpinned by credible data, is needed to achieve this.

According to David Rurangwa, the Country Director of Mastercard Foundation “The launch of the African Youth Employment Clock marks a pivotal moment in leveraging data-driven insights to empower Africa’s dynamic workforce and foster solutions to local and global challenges.”

“This initiative sets the stage for continued collaboration and progress in driving youth employment goals across the continent.” He said.

Source: topafricanews.com

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